Strange but True: How many moons in our solar system?


Q: Calling all you Moon-lovers or moon-gazers out there, how many moons are there in our solar system? A) 10 B) around 50 C) about 100 D) more than 150 E) uncertain

A: According to Space Today Online, the answer is D, including Jupiter at 63, Saturn at 47, Uranus 27, Neptune 13, Mars 2 and the Earth of course 1. But answer E is also correct, since "the moon totals for Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune can be expected to increase as more powerful telescopes become available in the future."

For instance, before 1986, when Voyager 2 visited Uranus, only five moons were known, but the spacecraft discovered 10 more and astronomers believe more tiny satellites may exist among the planet's rings. Interestingly, nine of the Voyager moons were named after Shakespearean characters -- Bianca, Cordelia, Cressida, Desdemona, Juliet, Ophelia, Portia, Puck and Rosalind -- as were three of the original moons: Oberon, Titania and Miranda. It is expected that, following the established tradition, any newly discovered Uranus moons will also be named after Shakespearean characters.

Q: You're waiting for a bus next to a "Got milk?" poster and you smell cookies. Is it your imagination?

A:Not necessarily. In 2006, dairy industry advertisers in the San Francisco area added the scent of cookies to bus shelters with "Got milk" posters in an attempt to cash in on the milk-cookie association in U.S. culture, according to Canadian anthropologist David Howes, as reported in "New Scientist" magazine. Though such multisensory marketing is not new, it is growing in sophistication: The "Taste the rainbow" slogan of Skittles sweets overtly meld two senses, but less obvious are hotel chains using signature scents, coffee shops coordinating music with brewing smells and flavors, holiday buying enhanced by synergistic music and fragrances.

"With so much competition for consumers' attention, no sense is left unturned," Howes says. And, "responding to a perceived consumer desire for purity, Pepsi marketed a clear cola with the slogan, ‘You've never seen a taste like this.' The idea failed ... because people associate cola flavor with a dark, rich color, so they associated lack of color with less flavor."

Q: What's to be said about octopuses that just about any of us two-legged, bi-armed, big-brained Homo sapiens would probably be interested to know?

A: Start with this: To circumvent the awkwardness of mating techniques of eight-leggers, octopuses have developed a more "hands-off" approach, says "Mental Floss" magazine. Males pass along their genetic stuff by inserting a particular arm into the female's "mantle" (or "gelatinous octopus body").

"To avoid entanglements, some males with commitment issues sever the arm right off and simply hand it over."

Also, to demonstrate their "badassery," wily octopuses in a lab will get free and "run amok" -- feasting on fish from other tanks.

"You'd chase them under the tank back and forth, like you were chasing a cat," said one university lab researcher. A mother giant Pacific octopus in her den lays up to 100,000 eggs -- each the size of a grain of rice -- oxygenating them for months and brushing them with her tentacles to prevent algae from smothering them, not even leaving their side to eat.

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